I noticed a number of popular health articles on inflammation in the past week or so; current scientific thought on chronic inflammation, fat, and the onset of aging is on its way to widespread awareness. Here is an example of the type:
Inflammation, of course, is not all bad. In fact, as part of the typical immune response, it's essential for battling germs and healing wounds. The familiar redness, heat, swelling and pain from, say, a hangnail or a splinter are signs of inflammation at work.
But when the inflammation process fails to shut off after an infection or injury is over, trouble sets in. Many doctors now think persistent, low-level inflammation may pave the way for the chronic diseases of later life.
"No one would have thought these things were related," but they are, said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. The TNF connection also helps explain why obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, leads to diabetes. "Fat cells used to be thought of as storage depots for energy, as metabolically inactive," said Libby. "Now we know that fat cells are little hotbeds of inflammation - excess fat in the belly is a great source of inflammation."
"Aging management" in the same sense of "sliding down the gravel slope management," of course. There are better ways and worse ways, but it'll all end in tears unless science progresses rapidly enough to save us. Make no mistake, however: wrangling an extra decade of health our of our recalitrant biochemistry is quite possible for most folk. All it takes is the right lifestyle choices. That decade could make the difference between living to see the era of working anti-aging medicine - technologies that can meaningfully repair the biochemical damage caused by aging - or being dead just prior to this medical revolution.
All the science linking chronic inflammation with increased risk for almost any nasty age-related condition that springs to mind provides a very good reason to take better care of the health basics. Inflammation is, in effect, another form of wear on gears and cogs. Why run your machinery down and make your later life much shorter, expensive and more unpleasant when you don't have to?